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Arizona's First Political Blog

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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Monday, July 9, 2007
Arizona's Paper of Record and Race Baiting

My earlier post regarding AZ Republic columnist Joe Garcia's race baiting deals with a situation that is exceptional for the Republic because it is so open and blatant as opposed to stealthy and implied.

Open and blatant because Mr. Garcia decided to come out and call those who were opposed to the recent immigration bill as not wanting "brown people" people. Doesn't matter what your reasons were for opposing the legislation in question, you are a racist for doing so.

Stealthy and implied because for the past several years (at least) the Arizona Republic, which despite its cratering circulation is still the state's paper of record, has refused to call a spade a spade.

When you were taught how to construct an argument in school, you learned that word choice is critical. Just because thesaurus kicks back 20 (or so) different synonyms for the word "good", doesn't mean that all 20 words can be used interchangeably. Each word has a specific definition for a specific context and that you ignored that definition at your own peril. Creativity was admired but precision in forensics was sacred.

The problem with the Republic is that for the past several years, it has called illegal immigrants either "migrants" or "undocumented immigrants" or "undocumented workers." The term that you use to describe the people in question is critical because it will largely define your solution; it is not a frivolous choice.

If the people are "illegal immigrants" then the question becomes what to do regarding their illegal status; do you legalize them, deport them, strengthen the border and tighten visa monitoring to stop future illegal immigrants, or some combination of all 3? The term focuses the debate on the critical aspect of the problem, the schwerpunkt if you will.

If the people are "undocumented immigrants" or migrants, the question of their legal status becomes secondary or even delegitimized as a proper topic for debate. Twenty years ago, a migrant was thought of someone who was a legal worker and moved from state to state to work temporary jobs, primarily in agriculture. Now the term is being used to describe someone who moves across international boundaries as if the US-Mexico border is little different than the California-Arizona. To call someone "undocumented" focuses debate not necessarily on their legal status but instead on their lack of immigration papers, subtly implying that the proper course of action is some form of legalization.

Different terms mean different questions. Different questions mean different answers. The Republic knows that... Joe Garcia knows that. It is as obvious a strategy as threatening to call anyone a racist who calls for tighter border enforcement, skeptical of blanket amnesty provisions, and pushing English language instruction; the surest way to silence someone in modern American society.

They have poisoned the well.

They should be ashamed of themselves.